Friday, June 14, 2013


My BRCA 1 and 2 test came back negative. This news felt like getting the last piece of information in a very long journey. It's such a huge relief to know I am not passing this on to the next generation. And I'm sure it's a relief to my mom that even though she's had breast cancer (twice!) I did not get it through genetics. I know - as if a person can do anything about their genetics  - as if it's in one's control but still, I'm relieved. That and the geneticist laid out what my reality would most likely be had the test come back positive. I don't blame Angelina Jolie one bit for being proactive after she tested positive. 

I've felt such anger towards the surgeon who has told me repeatedly that sure, mistakes were made but had they not happened and if certain other things hadn't happened then my story could be a whole lot different than it is today. I have felt an undercurrent of  "so be happy and grateful and if you feel those other feelings, then you aren't grateful and shame on you."  to his words. It could very well be that we just have the same chatter going on in our heads and well, I can guilt trip myself without any outside help, okay? I have wanted to tell him look, could you just listen to me without telling me how I should feel? Feeling my feelings through this journey has been my biggest triumph. Much scarier than putting on a brave face and faking it for the sake of those around me.

The day after I got the latest test results I thought to myself, mistakes were made and had not things happened after that then your story could be turning out so differently than it is. I checked and couldn't find an ounce of  internal pressure  or a sense of  "I should feel this". I felt no emotional charge, instead I felt calm. And grateful. Who knew?

It was a shock and a relief to feel something genuinely positive. I have not felt a whole lot of gratitude through this journey. It's been a blow to my ego not to qualify for a gold star poster child award. I've heard people eulogized lately who have died from cancer as people who never complained and were always other centered.  I think to myself, well - that won't ever be my story. And there's a part of me that really wants it to be. I did chuckle while reading an obituary the other day that said that so and so would be remembered for their lack of patience and their love of cooking. Mine might be something to the effect of being remembered for her vocal opinions and love of dark humour. 

After I reflected on the surgeon's words the next thing that popped into my head is that I owe it to - I don't know - God - my fellow human beings - myself? to make the most of this life I have. I don't know what that looks like and I have no intention of being anyone other than myself while I do it. But I am trying to not take what is before me for granted.